CPRS Toronto’s Student Steering Committee kicked this year off with the always popular Passport to PR event. It was our most successful year ever, with over 105 students taking part, tickets selling out in three hours and the event’s hashtag #PassporttoPR trending on Twitter! A big thank you to all of our hosts and student participants in this year’s event. Check out some highlights below:
Passport to PR proved to be a success again this year as communications students hit the pavement to visit PR offices at some of Toronto’s top organizations. Though this popular event was only offered to lucky students able to secure a spot, the PR lessons learned during the event were shared through social media during the event and at the post-event tweetup.
Students were able to gain some valuable information by learning new media relations techniques from APEX PR, Argyle PR’s new video branding implementation for clients, and the strategy involved in Roger Media’s internal and risk management plans.
– Cole Douglas, Vice President External, Student Steering Committee
It is my third year leading a group for Passport and every year I am so impressed by the quality of information provided by speakers, and by the insightful students so ready to learn!
We learned some interesting things as a group, from Hill + Knowlton explaining their diverse work setting and different departments, to Shaw Media’s take on publicity versus traditional public relations and Paradigm PR’s insight into how to make yourself stand out and hearing from a recent grad.
I also learned that your internship is the place to find love, as Carolyn Abbass slyly mentioned, “If you’re looking for a husband, I found mine during my internship.”
– Arden Bagni, President, Student Steering Committee
During my time at the three locations, meeting people from Seneca College, Centential College and fellow Humber College students, I learned the following:
Forget everyone that says you can’t do it, because you can.
Creativity is intelligence having fun.
Dive into the deep end and find what you like.
Finally, show up as you, whether it be bold, curious or unique.
I haven’t stopped raving about how modern, swanky and inviting Edelman’s Toronto office is. It’s like the kind of dream office space you see in movies! If I had a chance to work at Edelman one day, I wouldn’t care if PR isn’t your typical “9 to 5” kind of job! Other than obsessing over that aspiration, I met a lot of students from Humber and Seneca College who set their sights on an agency environment too. The most important thing I learned was your personal brand and “fit” with the agency is more important than your repertoire of skills since most graduates come out with similar abilities. I would definitely do this event again and want to learn more about how corporate and agency PR differ.
This was my first Passport to PR event and I was lucky enough to lead an exceptional group of 15 students. All locations offered an array of industry knowledge and experience. My only regret during the event is wishing I could have seen ALL 21 locations. The main theme that resonated with me is PR professionals do not follow one true path leading them to their careers. Students will need a combination of hard work, networking and a little bit of luck to end up where they want to be!
– Charzie Abendanio, Vice President, Student Steering Committee
Passport is an excellent event providing an insider’s glimpse into corporate communications and public relations at three distinct companies. Each company provided a great overview of the range of opportunities available within corporate communications and PR. Gabriel Mederos, senior communications manager – social media at TELUS told us about the importance of social media and its integration in everything they do. Metolinx’s communications co-ordinators Natalie Tutunzis and Vindra Dhanraj gave a great presentation about internal and external strategic communications. The LCBO’s Heather MacGregor (media relations co-ordinator and communications consultant) and Bill Kennedy (executive director, corporate communications) discussed the importance of understanding and aligning with business goals. And yes, we did end up talking about our favourite drinks! I think the best part of the presentations was that they covered things we learn in class – the importance of research, setting measurable goals and knowing your audience. It is great to know the skills we are learning in the classroom will be applicable when we start our careers. Great job CPRS Student Steering Committee!
– Jess MacGregor, Centennial College CCPR postgraduate certificate program student
NATIONAL is the place to be. After touring the stunning office and meeting Sarah Bannoff and Noor Marzook my heart is set on working in agency. The multitude of sectors including marketing and healthcare intrigued me and opened my eyes to the goodwill that can come from health-related PR.
This agency captures professionalism and fun, after all, life is a balancing act. The motto “work hard, play hard” at NATIONAL is a motto they live by, especially with a bar located on the main floor. Thanks for the tour and you will absolutely be getting my resume.
Who knew bathroom products could be so intriguing? Noor Marzook, senior consultant, marketing communications at NATIONAL Public Relations convinced me that with a creative, hard working team, anything is possible!
Before Passport to PR, I never thought about going into marketing communications. After sitting in NATIONAL’s presentation, I discovered how diverse agency is. There are endless opportunities for growth and experience. Noor talked about Kohler‘s marketing campaign, which promoted the launch of their new products. Her passion about her work has motivated me to learn more about her work and responsibilities.
Thanks to Passport to PR, I can look forward to connecting with her in the future.
If I could give one piece of advice to all PR students it would be to attend CPRS Toronto’s Passport to PR event. It will teach you things you cannot learn in the classroom and give you a real, in-depth look into what it is like to work in PR. Even though your mind might be set on a certain path, Passport can open your eyes to a new world within public relations. Many of my group members were not even considering working at an agency but after hearing our speakers at Strategic Objectives, it is now their first choice!
– Matthew Palmer, Student Representative, Student Steering Committee
Coming from Centennial College, Passport to PR was a great opportunity to meet PR students from other schools, connect with more people and build my network! My group leader, Matt was super organized and made the event lots of fun! It was exciting to learn more about the industry. As I’m only in first year, I haven’t had the chance to experience first hand what public relations does in the real world. The biggest thing I learned when visiting these three amazing places was the difference between corporate and agency. Initially I was planning on staying away from agency employment, but Strategic Objectives changed my mind and I know I wasn’t the only one in group F who started to warm up to the idea of an agency!
– Kate Perkins, First year student in Centennial College’s Bachelor of PR Management program
My favourite stop of the day was Veritas. From the second we walked in, you could feel the cool vibe of the agency. The boardroom was all set up for us, with music playing and breakfast and coffee. Sue Kuruvilla, Ashley Therriault, and Lena Hesse shared their varied experiences in a very genuine way. I loved learning about Veritas’ unique take on public relations, “Influencing the Influencers,” and the new Growth & Innovation lab. My brain was left spinning with excitement as we walked out the door, but one thought came to the forefront, “Wow, I would just love to work there.”
I was lucky enough to visit three very different PR atmospheres during my time at Passport to PR. Ranging from the small boutique agency of Pilot PMR, to corporate communications and publicity at Corus Entertainment and ending with the award-winning Strategic Objectives. Each stop had motivating and inspiring advice for newcomers to the world of PR, but a few choice quotes resonated with me, and I will be carrying them throughout my career.
“Don’t work in isolation. Collaborating makes you smarter.”
“Don’t be distracted by shiny objects, and the next big thing.”
“Your job is to dream big, and do it differently.”
“Challenge yourself, and stay news hungry.”
Passport to PR opened up the doors to a world of possibilities, and reassured me that mentors are waiting, and wanting to help us succeed once we step out into the PR world. Thank you CPRS for such an amazing event.
Oh, and don’t forget to tune into our tweetup at the end of every Passport to PR event, or you may end up sad like Anthony:
Check out some more photos from the event below.
*Photo credit: Peter May